US, Virginia file complaint in intervention in Universal Health Services qui tam

by Ben Vernia | March 3rd, 2010

On November 4, 2009, the US and the Commonwealth of Virginia announced their intervention in a qui tam suit in the Western District of Virginia, against Keystone Marion Youth Center and its owners/operators, Universal Health Services, Inc., and two Nashville-based companies, Keystone Marion, LLC, and Keystone Education and Youth Services, LLC. On March 2, the US and Virginia filed their complaint in intervention.

The governments’ complaint alleges that the companies falsely represented “that they operated KMYC as a residential treatment facility providing inpatient psychiatric services to children, when in fact they operated KMYC as a juvenile detention facility.” The complaint alleges a very broad failure of the companies to provide juvenile psychiatric services, including a lack of oversight by a licensed psychiatrist. Although the facility had one on staff, the governments allege, “He did little more than manage medication and sign documents presented to him to make it appear that he was providing the required direction or supervision.”

The federal and state governments also restated one of the relators’ most troubling allegations: “‘Provoking’ or ‘escalating’ Medicaid children to cause behaviors to justify extending their stays solely to increase Medicaid billings and payments.”

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